Scenario: Standard Night Fight
Necron Forces: Badelaire
Tau Forces: Darkwing
Darkwing: Gaining and losing ground is irrelevant to Tau tactical doctrine, as the only goal is to destroy the enemy. Yet there is such a thing as a strategic location. If securing it means that I can kill more of the enemy later, than taking such a position is paramount.
The objective is to control table quarters. I must keep that in the front of my mind. To achieve this goal, I need to control the center of the battlefield. That way I can establish a base of fire from which to attack, and I can respond in any direction as the battle warrants. It leaves me open to being outflanked, but in concentrating my firepower I hope to be able to thwart any such maneuvers.
My primary objective is to keep my own table quarter free of Necrons, and contest their other three. If I control the center of the board, it should be relatively straightforward to move some troops into the other quarters as the game comes to a close. My secondary objective is to control two table quarters, while contesting at least one of the others. If I achieve either my primary or secondary objective, I can pull out a victory. I believe that Jacob will be counting on the Night Fighting rules to have a severe effect on my firepower. I'm sure it will, and I've taken a few steps to compensate.
Headquarters: My Commander will be going it alone this battle, and I've armed him with a fusion blaster in addition to his missile pod and plasma rifle. I'll move him forward, shoot, and withdraw under the protections allowed to him for being a character. He cannot claim table quarters, so his mission is simple: Kill Necrons.
I also got an Ethereal, which is extremely important for morale. How I deploy him will be dependent on the circumstances of the battle when I begin deploying.
Elites: As in last battle, my Crisis Team is armed with plasma rifles and missile pods. Hopefully they can work together with the Hammerhead to provide some mobile firepower. My Stealth Team will be even more effective at night, since to spot them the spotting distance is halved. Jacob said he wasn't going to bother shooting at them last battle, and with the spotting distance halved he's even less likely to try this time. So I will try to exploit that and make the Stealth Team as much a thorn in Jacob's side as possible.
Troops: The mainstay of my force are my four core units of Fire Warriors. I plan on forming them into a relatively tight cluster around the Broadsides, screening them and forming a base of fire.
Fast Attack: For this battle I am light in Fast Attack Troops, and only got a single squad of Gun Drones. Their purpose would primarily be to move into a table quarter and claim it. I hope to keep them at the edges of the fighting and have them look inconspicuous. If they claim/contest a table quarter they will have done their job. If I manage to kill a necron or two in the process, I'll consider that a bonus.
Heavy Support: In addition to my Hammerhead, this time I also got a team of three Broadsides. The team leader has a Blacksun Filter, so hopefully he'll be able to pick off a Destroyer or Heavy Destroyer dumb enough to expose itself. If I place my Broadsides in the center of my formation, surrounded by Fire Warriors (which will also screen them), then I'll have a heinous base of fire to work with. My Hammerhead will team up with the Crisis Team and provide a mobile base of fire to coordinate with the Broadsides/Fire Warriors to hopefully catch some of the Necrons in a crossfire.
Badelaire: Night Fight missions against shooty armies make me nervous. If your opponent gets some good spotting rolls and you don't, you can suffer a lot of nasty casualties without being able to shoot back and return the favor. On the other hand, if your opponent's spotting is poor and you're able to get in close, especially with some assault specialists, it can be a slaughter for the shooty player, as all of that firepower gets utterly wasted.
While I have some good shooting units (Destroyers and Immortals especially), One or two bad turns of spotting rolls for these guys can make them a total waste in a Night Fight. Therefore, for this mission, I'm turning down my shooting firepower and seriously cranking up my assault potential. The Tau are all but useless in close combat, and I'm confident that if I can avoid being shot to pieces in the first turn or two, then I'll get into assault and dominate the game, locking him into pointless fights that will wipe out his troops in a turn or two.
Tactically, I'm thinking I'll take my warriors and send a squad into each adjacent table quarter along with a squad of Flayed Ones. I'll rush my Scarabs into the Tau quarter and lock down Darkwing's units so that they can't move out of their positions, and I'll anchor my own quarter with my Immortals and probably one of my Tomb Spyders, sending the other two Spyders to mother-hen my Warrior squads. The lord will probably lurk around the edge of my table quarter and take on any crisis suits that try to get clever about moving in against the Immortals. Overall, my tactics will be to swing my army out like a pair of wings into the two adjacent table quarters, hemming Darkwing's forces in where they will be destroyed with short-ranged shooting and repeated assaults.
Building My List
This second battle will be fought at 1500 points, which means I will have plenty of room to tailor my army list for the mission at hand. My army is in the final stages of reaching where I want it to be in terms of size and composition, so at the time of this writing I think my Necron forces are probably neck-and-neck with Darkwing's Tau army in terms of size.
Headquarters: This time around, I'm going with an infantry Lord packing a Warscythe, Solar Pulse, Chronometron, and Nightmare Shroud. While his weapon is close-combat only, the Shroud will force a test on any number of units, making it very effective when in close, and best of all, I don't have to see to use it. The Pulse will also be key--I'm thinking I'll use it either the first or second turn to give me a round where I can tear up some Tau before assaulting in the darkness the next turn. The Warscythe will be death to those annoying Crisis Suits, and the Chrono will let me keep them from running away and shooting up my Lord at close range the next turn.
Elite Choices: This mission is going to be very Elites intensive, since they are my best infantry troops and this will be an all-infantry army for the most part. I have increased my Immortals squad to seven and bumped my Flayed Ones into two squads of seven rather than one squad of ten so I can take on two opponents at a time. Since I get an infiltration move and his shooting won't be so intense this time, the smaller squad size won't be as big an issue. Troop Choices: Again, two big squads of 16 Warriors each. I had thought of going with three smaller squads, but I just don't like the idea of giving Darkwing smaller squads that he can pick apart with a good round of shooting.
Fast Attack: Since Destroyers rely so much on staying back out of range and hosing squads from a distance, they are a very poor choice in Night Fight, and when they do get in close enough to have a good chance of spotting their targets, they will no doubt be targets themselves of Darkwing's whole army. Since they're 50 points apiece, I think I'll leave them on the shelves. Scarabs, on the other hand, are perfect for this mission, being really fast, ignoring difficult terrain, and swamping squads in fruitless combats. I'll be bringing two squads of six with me.
Heavy Support: Heavy Destroyers are in the same boat as their lighter brethren, only even worse, since there are only two of them and they're more expensive than regular Destroyers. I'll be leaving the two Heavy D's at home, and just bringing along my Tomb Spyders, who will be able to slink around the battlefield and chew up anything so stupid as to get within charge range. Even if they don't get to fight anything, they'll be an assault threat that can force Darkwing to move where I want him to go right into the teeth of my guns and the claws of my assault squads.
The Necron Battle Line
The Tau Battle LineThe Forces
|Flayed Ones (7)||126|
|Flayed Ones (7)||126|
|Tomb Spyder (3)||165|
|Crisis Battlesuit Team (3)||205|
|Stealth Team (4)||130|
|Fire Warriors (12)||142|
|Fire Warriors (12)||142|
|Fire Warriors (12)||142|
|Fire Warriors (12)||142|
|Gun Drones (8)||96|
|Broadside Battlesuit Team (3)||243|
As a body the Necrons advanced, splitting themselves into two main groups, each maneuvering as if to catch the Tau in a pincer attack. The Immortals fired their Gauss Blasters on the Crisis Team, wounding one of them.
The Stealth Team fired at the last surviving Scarab base on the Necron left flank, killing it. The Commander fired his Plasma Rifle and Fusion Blaster at the Flayed Ones, but was not able to fell any of them. The Hammerhead killed a pair of Flayed Ones with its Ion Cannon and Smart Missile System. The Crisis Team, now able to spot the Flayed Ones in the darkness, fired all their weapons at them, but they had no effect. On the Tau left flank, again, only the Broadside Team Leader could spot anything, and he vaporized a Scarab base with a Railgun shot. Two squads of Fire Warriors spotted the approaching Scarabs, and between them they felled four bases, leaving only one left.
The Flayed Ones on the Necron left flank failed their Morale check and fell back, but quickly regrouped, one of its fallen members repairing itself in the interim. The rest of the Necrons continued their advance.
The Immortals fired their Gauss Blasters on the Gun Drone Squad, destroying six of them. The two survivors fell back and left the battlefield.
The center Tomb Spyder made itself a Scarab base.
The Flayed One charges the Stealth TeamA squad of Fire Warriors moved to the left to help support the Tau left flank. The Stealth Team moved in that direction as well, towards the last Scarab base. The Crisis Suits and the Hammerhead shifted left to keep their distance from the advancing Necron left flank.
The Stealth Team fired their Burst Cannon at the Scarab base, destroying it. Three Fire Warrior Squads fired on the Necrons right flank Flayed Ones, unleashing 27 Pulse Rifle shots. A remarkable twenty shots hit, delivering ten wounds, and six Flayed Ones dropped. On the Tau right flank, the Crisis Suits, Hammerhead and Commander all concentrated their fire on the Immortals. The Crisis Suits fired first, killing one with their Plasma Rifles and another with their Missile Pods. The Commander killed another with his Plasma Rifle, leaving three left. Then the Hammerhead fired. The Ion Cannon killed two of them, and the Smart Missile System destroyed the last one. Despite being within 12" of a Tomb Spyder, there were no other Immortals alive on the battlefield, and so none of the Immortals could self repair, and they all vanished.
On the Necron right flank, six Flayed Ones had fallen to Tau shooting, and none of them managed to repair, leaving the last Flayed One to fend for himself. Deciding to press on, it advanced towards the Stealth Team. The rest of the Necrons continued their advance, and there was no shooting from them.
The Flayed One charged the Stealth Team and engaged them, killing one of them. The three Stealth Suits fought back, but were unable to kill the Flayed One.
The center Tomb Spyder made another Scarab base.
The Commander opened fire on the Tomb Spyder that was approaching, and killed a Scarab base with his Plasma Rifle. The Crisis Suit Team killed the other Scarab base and wounded the Tomb Spyder, but failed to do any more damage with their Missile Pods. Then the Broadside Team Leader finished off the Tomb Spyder with a Railgun shot. The Hammerhead then fired on the Flayed Ones, now closing in again, and felled one with its Ion Cannon and two with its Smart Missile System. Three squads of Fire Warriors opened fire at the Necron Warrior Squad approaching their left flank, and let loose with 36 Pulse Rifle shots (including 1 Pulse Carbine). Four Necrons were killed by the fusillade.
The Flayed One continued its fight against the Stealth Team, and the assault was a draw.
Two of the felled Necron Warriors self-repaired, while all three fallen Flayed Ones repaired themselves. The Necrons continued their implacable advance.
Closing in fast, the Necron Warriors on the Tau left flank came within short range and opened fire with their Gauss Rifles, killing a pair of Fire Warriors.
The combat between the Flayed One and the Stealth Team was again a draw.
The Necrons approach the Tau Battle LineThe left two units of Fire Warriors opened up at close range at the approaching Necron Warriors. The Fire Warriors delivered 34 Pulse Rifle shots, but managed to fell only a single Necron Warrior. The Crisis Team fired on the Flayed Ones on the Tau right flank, killing four with their Plasma Rifles, and one more with their Missile Pods. One of the Fire Warrior Squads fired on the Flayed Ones as well, bringing the last one down. Now the Necron Lord was exposed, and the Commander fired on him at close range. The Plasma Rifle did not do any damage, but the Fusion Blaster wounded him. The Hammerhead then targeted the lord, and felled him with its Ion Cannon. The Smart Missile System then fired on the Warrior Squad nearby, killing one of them.
In hand to hand, The Flayed One missed, while the Stealth Suits attacks were thwarted by the Flayed One's armor. This Flayed One was the last one standing on the battlefield, and had the Stealth Team been able to kill it, all of the Flayed Ones on the battlefield would have phased out.
As it happened, two of the Flayed Ones self repaired, and materialized in close combat with their comrade and the Stealth Team. The Necron Lord also repaired himself to carry on the fight. The Tomb Spyder on the Necron right flank began to back up, moving into the trees.
The squad of Necron Warriors on the Necron left flank fired on the Crisis Suits, but their battlesuits protected them from harm. The Necron Warriors opposite the Fire Warriors advanced and opened fire at close range, killing three Fire Warriors, then charged them.
The Necron Warriors delivered five wounds in the combat, but only one Fire Warrior fell. The Fire Warriors retaliated but failed to drop any Necrons. Both units stood fast and the fight continued. The three Flayed Ones attacked the Stealth Team, whose armor managed to ward off the attack. The Stealth Team brought down a single Flayed One in response. The Necron Lord charged the Crisis Team, cutting down one of the Crisis Suits with his Warscythe. The Crisis Suits retaliated but the Necron Lord's armor saved him from death.
The Tau Fire Warriors swarm the Necron WarriorsThe turn began with one table quarter unclaimed, two table quarters contested, and one in Necron control. This was the turn for last chances.
The Hammerhead sideslipped to the right, bringing it close to the Necron Warriors, but also in a position to contest that table quarter, provided it survived. The Commander wavered in attempting to charge the Necron Lord, assisting the Crisis Team, or assist the Hammerhead against the Warriors, and opted to assist the Hammerhead.
The Commander missed with his Plasma Rifle, but killed one Necron Warrior with his Missile Pod. The Hammerhead killed three more with its Ion Cannon. The Broadsides found that they could all spot the Tomb Spyder lurking in the trees, its Scarab base just out of line of sight on the far side. The three Railguns fired, scoring three hits and two wounds, felling the Tomb Spyder.
The Fire Warriors realized that when push came to shove, they all had to fight in the assault. Reversing their rifles, all the Fire Warrior Squads charged into hand to hand combat. Two squads charged the Necron Warrior Squad, while the one squad with the Ethereal charged the Flayed Ones engaged with the Stealth Team. The Necron Warriors killed two Fire Warriors, while the three squads of Fire Warriors killed three Necron Warriors. The Flayed Ones killed three Fire Warriors, but the Fire Warriors killed another Flayed One, leaving only one survivor. The Necron Lord missed with its three attacks, and the Crisis Suits wounded the Necron Lord, who again was saved by his armor.
The Necron Lord fights the Crisis Suits
Five Necron Warriors repaired themselves between the two squads.
The Necron turn began, and now there was one table quarter unclaimed, two contested, and one in Tau control. Ultimately, if the fourteen Necron Warriors could bring down the Hammerhead with their Gauss Rifles, then the battle would be tied with one table quarter unclaimed, one contested, and one each in Tau and Necron control respectively.
Being at close range, the Necron Warriors fired 28 shots at the Hammerhead. The Warriors scored five glancing hits. Any results of 6 on the table would destroy the Hammerhead. The Hammerhead was equipped with Decoy Launchers, however, forcing a reroll of any "immobilized" result. The resulting rolls were 1, 1, 2, 3, and 4. The result of 4 was re-rolled. This time, if the next roll was a 4 (Immobilized) or 6 (Destroyed), the Hammerhead would be destroyed, leaving the table quarter in control of the Necrons. The result was . . . a five, destroying the Hammerhead's Ion Cannon. The Hammerhead was damaged, not destroyed . . .
The combat between the Necron Lord and Crisis Suits was indecisive. The Flayed One killed another Fire Warrior, but then the Fire Warriors finally brought the Flayed One down. In the fight on the Tau left flank, the Necrons killed another Fire Warrior while losing one of their own.
In the end, the Tau had claimed a table quarter, and without one of their own, the Necrons were forced to concede defeat.
Badelaire: Writing this debriefing is difficult. I made a number of mistakes both off and on the battlefield, and trying to pin down any one failure on my part as the reason for my loss doesn't seem appropriate. However, to give some order to my thoughts, I'll organize what I think I did wrong in some sort of chronological manner.
First off, I think I made a mistake in going for two small units of Flayed Ones instead of one big squad. Considering the battlefield we played on, a big squad of ten Flayed Ones could have scooted into the trees by my lead Tomb Spyder by the end of turn One and hunkered down there for the rest of the battle, threatening any nearby Crisis Suits with a charge and contesting Darkwing's deployment quarter. Those smaller squads, out in the open, were easy meat for his guns. Likewise, I question using two squads of Scarabs rather than one big squad, as the big squad, properly placed, could have survived to lock down a squad or two of warriors. Instead, they were shot to pieces and melted under the withering heat of pulse rifle fire.
And finally, I think I was silly to give the Lord a Warscythe and Nightmare Shroud. The shooting abilities of the Staff of Light against Darkwing's Crisis Team would have been handy, and the Shroud never once worked against Darkwing's re-roll-able Morale tests -- that Ethereal is worth its weight in gold. Considering how the fight went, a far better load would have been to take the Staff of Light, Nightmare Shroud, and Destroyer Body. I could have then darted in at the Crisis Suits while withstanding more firepower, and I would have probably locked them down in hand-to-hand for the entire game, that bonus Toughness meaning even his Suits would only hit on a 4+, wound on a 6+, and I'd be saving on a 3+.
BUT, since this wasn't how I made my army list, I'll talk about what did happen. My deployment wasn't terrible, I think, although I forgot my own battle plan and moved too many units forward into that Tau firepower. It always needs to be remembered that the average distance a unit can see in Night Fight is from 18 to 24 inches -- a lot further than I tend to think is. I am glad I denied Darkwing's forces the center of the board, but I should have been considering what Darkwing himself was considering, and make the center of the battlefield a fortress from which I could contest the rest of the battlefield. As it was, my aggressive movement during the game was to by my undoing.
Considering how the game played out, I really should have moved my two units of Flayed Ones into defensive positions behind trees, not in them, on both flanks. My Warriors did what they probably should have done, although my right flank squad should probably just have sat tight once in range of shooting the Tau. Even when taking pulse fire, I knew I would win a firefight against them with my superior skill and my saves plus the WBB rolls. Getting into assault was an act of cowardice on my part, rushing in to lock them down when I knew I couldn't break them in assault anyways.
Other issues I think I faltered on? Well, my Spyders didn't kill anything or even get into assault this game. That's not really a bad thing, but once I knew that, I should have been more careful in using them to hold my ground instead of advancing into his (where I already had units . . .). Also, once my left flank Flayed Ones broke, I should have realized there was no way they could kill anything, and I should have just retreated them back into my quarter. The Immortals, Toughness 5 or no, had no business advancing against the Tau Crisis Suits and Hammerhead. They might be great at killing Fire Warriors, but they are no match up close to Tau Suits and Ion Cannons. Once that squad was killed off, I knew my hopes of winning the game were almost nil -- I had just lost the best Tau-killing force in my army list.
Ultimately, if I were to re-fight that battle, I would have moved my Warriors forward on both flanks, screened my Spyders with them, then tucked my Flayed Ones behind some cover where they would be safe to hop between table quarters as needed. The Scarabs would have stayed in my quarter, out of shooting range, ready to defend my quarter from advancing Tau, while my Immortals, remaining Spyder, and Lord held my position. This mission is about taking and holding ground, not killing enemies, and heck, my army is the best there is when it comes to standing and holding. One 16-man squad of Warriors would probably be all I needed to contest a table quarter, and that would have left the rest of my army to defend mine, giving me at least a stalemate.
As for what went right? Hmmmm. Not all that much, from my way of thinking. Losing all but one member of my right flank Flayed Ones squad was bad news, although that one survivor made up for the loss of all his comrades and the cowardice of the other squad by holding that Stealth Suit team up for the rest of the battle. It was sad to see my Scarabs all get killed, but it took a turn's worth of fire from Darkwing's army to do it, a turn in which he wasn't killing anything important. And my left flank Warrior squad showed what glancing gauss fire can do against vehicles, and it was only luck and the fact that it was the last turn of the game that saved Darkwing's Hammerhead (and those stupid Decoy Launchers, grrr . . . Really, if I had played a little less aggressively, I could have easily taken a draw away from that fight instead of a loss, and I feel like a bull that's just been led around by the matador, being stabbed time and again only to have my foe duck nimbly out of the way--curse that Tau mobility! Darkwing's forces were able to very deftly bait me into moving forward, then darting in and out to bleed my forces dry, a very humbling experience.
Darkwing: Well that was a close battle! There were several points during the battle where everything seemed to hinge on a single dice roll. At several times during the battle, I felt that I needed something to go my way or the battle was lost. Some things didn't go my way (killing all of the Flayed Ones in Turn 5), while others did go my way (the Broadsides killing the Tomb Spyder, and the Hammerhead surviving, both in Turn 6).
When Badelaire got to deploy first, I felt I was in deep trouble when he placed his Tomb Spyder in the middle of the table. It threw a monkey wrench into my plans--I was already backed into my corner, and I had less maneuvering room than I would have hoped for. In the end this wasn't as important as I had thought it would be.
At first I was surprised that Badelaire did not take any Destroyers, but in retrospect it made sense. With the Night Fighting rules in effect, the extra range of the Destroyers over Immortals was negated, and the Immortals would be killing Tau just as easily as the Destroyers could, and the Immortals were far cheaper. The Destroyers are more mobile than the Immortals, but Badelaire probably didn't think that mobility was worth the extra expense.
All in all my battle plan went well, the only big mistake I think I made was allowing my Stealth Team to get charged, again. I had high hopes for them, but alas the Flayed One charged them.
Ah yes, the Flayed One-That-Would-Not-Die. When I had destroyed the Immortals, I began to see an opening forming. The Necrons had split their forces, leaving a large gap in the middle. I had planned on moving the Stealth Team forward, shooting that last Flayed One, and then charging up the middle with the Stealth Team and claiming Badelaire's Deployment table quarter. Such a bold move would probably surprise Badelaire. If he went after the Stealth Team, he'd probably kill them, but it would slow down his advance. If he didn't go after them, they would easily take the table quarter and give me an advantage. This kind of "bait" maneuver is exactly what the Stealth Teams are for.
Unfortunately I had left the Stealth Team barely within charge range of the Flayed One, and he charged me. All was not lost--if I could only kill the thing I could still effect my plan. Unfortunately the darn thing simply would not die, despite the six attacks on it every Assault Phase. And even worse, on the turn when I had wiped out the rest of the Flayed Ones, I could have made them all phase out by killing this last one, and he still would not fall.
As the battle progressed, I was thinking that placing the Broadsides so far back was a mistake, as the Team Leader was the only one doing any damage. However, having them where they were ended up saving the battle for me, because they maneuvered into position to claim a table quarter in Turn 5, and then in Turn 6 they killed Badelaire's Tomb Spyder, preventing him from either contesting the quarter with my Broadsides, or reclaiming his own deployment zone. One might argue that getting a full team of three Broadsides wasn't worth it since the two without Blacksun Filters hardly fired a shot all battle, but in the end it was worth it, as in the end they helped me win the game but getting the few shots in Turn 6 that I needed them for.
The last turn was extremely tense, as everything hinged on the Hammerhead surviving and contesting a table quarter, which would clinch me the game. I was already tense when Badelaire was going to fire 14 Gauss Rifle shots at it, but I got a lot more tense when I realized that he was in short range and would get 28 shots on it! The Decoy Launchers proved themselves worth their weight in gold, as without them, the Hammerhead would have crashed and burned. Even so, I was lucky that Badelaire failed to destroy it, despite having five glancing hits on it.
In the end, Badelaire did make some mistakes, mainly, I thought, in leaving some troops exposed, but also in that he didn't have a unit just staying behind in his deployment zone. His Necron Warriors on the right flank didn't need the protection of his Tomb Spyder, as there was no way I was going to wipe out his unit of sixteen Warriors in one turn of shooting. He realized this towards the end, but I was able to pick it off with my Broadsides as it was moving away.